NORTHERN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
M&G Concert at the Civic Theatre
A handful of orchestral favourites, played with style and enthusiasm by this excellent chamber band, directed from the leader's desk by Nicholas Ward.
After an exquisite egg-timer [Mozart's Marriage of Figaro Overture], full of light and shade, an atmospheric Cuckoo from Delius, with the clarinet evoking the mournful bird.
Martin Roscoe was the soloist in Beethoven's Emperor Concerto. He gave an assertive account of this monumental work, his massive grand piano dwarfing the orchestra, who gave a compelling account of the score, the delicate strings in the introduction to the Adagio particularly fine.
More Mozart to finish – a fresh, meticulously crafted Haffner, ending with an impressively fleet-footed Presto finale.
Before that, some early Shostakovich: an orchestral version of the Octet Prelude and Scherzo, penned long before the dead hand of Joseph Stalin stifled creativity and the avant-garde. Performed with energetic zest by the 13 strings of this splendid Manchester-based ensemble.